• Shelley Oto

Yolo When Solo While Keeping It Safe In These Streets


I've mentioned in previous posts that I really enjoy traveling solo. #Solo #exploration allows a rare opportunity to dig into the deepest parts of ourselves and provides a unique moment to put aside companion-related distractions and listen to our most valuable tool, intuition.

Traveling alone offers a singular opportunity to completely self indulge, say yes and no on your own terms, go/stop, celebrate when you flawlessly achieve that thing you couldn't do before and own your mistakes. Depending on who you speak with, they will have a million and one opinions about solo travel. Regardless of the side of the fence you stand on, being #SAFE is key to having a successful, enjoyable experience that will keep you coming back for more. Here are my top tips for keepin' it safe in these streets, with a touch of YOLO, of course.


1: The first few tips are about research, research, RESEARCH! Before you arrive, research the safest areas to stay while in your desired city and know the things to look out for so you can be prepared in the event of an unwanted situation.


2: Research the safest ways to move around the city before arriving so you have time to coordinate and arrange accommodations as recommended by resourceful travel outlets and local authorities.


3: Research by visiting your desired mode of transport early (preferably during the day) so you know where you're going and how much it should cost so you won't get ripped off by your taxi or driver. Always negotiate the cost for transport BEFORE you use the service. Trust me.


4: When flying or taking ground transport, #travel during hours that allow you to arrive in the morning or early afternoon when there's daylight. It's easier to #navigate your surroundings and often less intimidating when it's bright outside.


5: Meeting new people is one of the best (if not the best) things about traveling, but don't feel that it's necessary to share that you're solo. Make it sound like you're meeting a friend or partner later and give the illusion that you’re not alone. Besides, no matter how friendly people are you just met these people and you have to be careful. For example: “I'm going to my friend’s house tonight,” or “My friend is meeting me at the hostel,” or “I'm staying with my husband's family,” etc.


6: If possible, post on social media and leave a trail of your whereabouts as much as you can.


7: Pay attention when you're walking around. Keep your head out of a map during the day and off social media while walking at night. Pay attention to your surroundings and do your best to not appear like a tourist which can make you a target for unwanted attention and activity. Pay attention, as it may not always be the ideal time to pull out your most prized electronics. Just sayin', you'll thank me later.


8: Steer clear of wearing flashy jewelry. Again, it's a target for theft and pickpockets! Leave your bling at home. For women, it could be a good idea to wear a modest wedding band. This can act as an excuse when receiving unwanted attention and unwanted stares.


9: Withdraw cash in the mornings or afternoons in well lit, visble areas. Isn't this a universal law?


10: Store some cash and an extra debit/credit card in a private place in your suitcase in case of an emergency. You'll be happy you did. I, too, have had to dip into my secret stash to get me out of some weird situations.


11: If you're a US citizen, be sure you know where the American Embassy is located. This is where you go if something goes terribly wrong.


12: Research what to wear. Every country has their own dress code and some are drastically more conservative than others. It's important that you follow the cultural rules and be respectful, as failing to do so may attract unwanted attention or have other repercussions depending on where you're visiting.


13: One more thing, (I know I said ten). Almost every country has warnings surrounding purse theft or pickpockets. Make it easy on yourself and purchase a bag that has built-in safety features to keep your belongings SAFE everywhere you go. Check out my article, Pack Light to see two of my favorite anti-theft brands who carry cute styles and help me keep my stuff safe.


Your memories will be brighter if you have a safe experience. Who wants to come home early from a trip due to situations that could have been avoided. Un-fun (This isn't a word, but I still find it fitting) Use your prep time to do proper research to protect your most valuable asset, YOU! Travel light, travel with love, travel safely ... but always travel! The world is your playground, and it’s yours to explore. The End.


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